What is saturated fat, and why are these two words surrounded by so much negative hype? Saturated fat can be described as one of the unhealthy fats our diet should strive to avoid (trans fat being the other). However, not all fats are the enemy; in fact, fat is an essential nutrient that our body depends upon to thrive. It is important to differentiate between the evil fats and the friendly fats: saturated is bad and promotes various health complications, while unsaturated is good and satisfies our body with vital nutrition. This should be easy to fathom; since saturated begins with an “s,” we can remember to stay away!
How Does Saturated Fat Harm Our Health?
A saturated fatty acid is jam-packed with hydrogen and carbon atoms, making it a rigid compound that doesn’t bend or willingly combine with oxygen. Therefore, when this stubborn fat is consumed, it can clog our arteries and negatively affect our cholesterol levels and triglycerides, leading to numerous health issues including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. Yikes!
How Can We Avoid Saturated Fats?
The only saturated fat food our heart approves of is the one we never eat. While it’s impossible to live a life free of all saturated fats, they should be consumed in extreme moderation! Avoid the following foods as much as possible:
- Animal products (fatty meats)
- Whole milk
- Ice cream (and other creams)
- Coconut oil
Remember, when you are out there on the nutritional battlefield, combat the saturated fats, and befriend the unsaturated fats!